As the number of vaping-related deaths continues to climb, Juul Labs has replaced its current CEO with a Big Tobacco executive from Altria Group.

Early Wednesday morning, after frantic days of internal meetings, the company announced that Kevin Burns would resign as chief executive. His chosen replacement is K.C. Crosthwaite, a top official at Altria, the cigarette giant that bought a 35% share in Juul for $12.8 billion last December and has seen the company it invested in rocked by growing crisis.

According to, the ‘fallout’ over the wave of vaping-related lung diseases and deaths has scuttled a potential merger of Altria Group and Philip Morris International.